An Amazon warehouse instead of offices. Townhouses in place of an airport. Zoning ‘tool’ allows changes with little scrutiny.
Grassy hills where residents were promised bustling office buildings could now hold a massive warehouse. A small airport could be replaced with more than 500 townhouses. A church property could include housing for the elderly.
Each of the projects is dependent on fast-track changes to existing zoning by the Prince George’s County Council, which relies on bills called “text amendments” to circumvent what lawmakers describe as an outdated and cumbersome zoning process…
“It is important to have consistency and certainty,” said Stewart Schwartz, who heads the D.C.-based Coalition for Smarter Growth, noting that in other jurisdictions, a change as substantial as the proposed warehouse would likely have gone through full zoning review processes.
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